Silicon Valley Sevens: North Americans Brace For Pacific Onslaught

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SAN JOSE, CA - MARCH 23: A general view of Avaya Stadium, San Jose, California. (Photo by David Madison/Getty Images)

The inaugural Silicon Valley Sevens will be held from November 4-5 in San Jose, California. It will be an International Sevens Rugby extravaganza, with 12 national sides competing. Plenty of thrills and spills are expected as North Americans brace for a Pacific onslaught.

The iconic Avaya Stadium, home of the MSL San Jose Earthquakes, will be the venue. It will be two-days of mouth-watering and breathtaking rugby sevens, as the ‘Super Powers’ of the sevens (7s) game collide in California.

This new tournament is gearing up to be one of the biggest in the United States. And a great warm-up to the Rugby World Cup Sevens, to be hosted up the coast in San Francisco, in July 2018.

Quick Tap: Origins of Rugby Sevens

It will also be an international sporting festival, featuring interactive sports activities, music and entertainment. An event for the whole family, one especially targeted to the Pacific Islands community in the Bay Area.

A music festival will feature Fiji The Artist, Spawnbreezie, WriteMinded and ValuFa, with Big Body Cisco serving as the official Master of Ceremonies for the weekend.

North Americans Brace For Pacific Onslaught

North American 7s giants Team USA and Canada are bracing for a Pacific onslaught. The hosts have invited the Olympic Gold Medal winning Fiji side, together with Oktoberfest and Central Coast Sevens champions Australia.

Other ‘super powers’ include New Zealand, together with Tonga and Samoa, adding to the Pacifica flavor to this tournament.

As well, England and Ireland bring their European flavor, with Chile adding their Latino touch–embracing the large Hispanic culture of San Jose. Furthermore, Asian sides Japan and China bring with them an Oriental mix, making for an International event which has never been seen stateside.

International Teams Bring Top Quality Competition to San Jose

Most of the teams are using the tournament to test out new talents. These youngsters will feature for their national sides in the future. Conversely, the Australians have named a very experienced squad, along with Canada.

The Australians are looking for their third international sevens tourney in-a-row. Canada is hungry, so will be the hosts and Japan are looking to show their qualities here too. New Zealand are sending their ’emerging talent’ looking to gain International experience.

“The international sevens calendar is so busy, so the more players we can expose to quality opposition and tournaments,” said Tony Philip, NZRU High Performance Manager on allblacks.com.

It will be interesting how they fair against underdogs Japan and the three South Sea Islands sides. Every side will be gearing up for the Sevens Series, as well as Oceania competition next weekend. So the Silicon Valley Sevens is going to see some tremendous matches.

“You don’t want to miss this.”

2017 Silicon Valley Sevens: The LOWDOWN

Pool A – England, Canada, Samoa, Ireland

England has named a relatively young side with only three senior players. Will Edwards, Ethan Waddleton and Harry Glover will lead this young brigade to unearth new stars.

Admir Cejanovic’s return will bolster Canada, and count on Luke McCloskey; together with Matt Mullin and Luke Bradley, who will all stand tall for the Canucks.

The Sir Gordon Tietjens coached island side could surprise many. Samoa have some tough pool games though. Experienced Samoa Toloa adds his maturity, as does Joe Perez.

Canada will be hot favorites to take out this pool, along with the English or Samoa. However, don’t count out the Irish as they have really grown. Watch out Shane Daly, a name of the future. They did really well in Munich–but the English rookies could turn heads also.

Pool A will be a tough one to emerge from unscathed.

England squad: Ethan Waddleton, Yaree Fantini, Will Muir, Will Edwards, George De Cothi, Fergus Guiry, Charlie Kingham, Fin Dewar, Lailand Gordon, Harry Glover, Ryan Olowofela, Samir Khabouch
Canada Squad: Phil Berna, Luke Bradley, Admir Cejvanovic, Jared Douglas, Isaac Kay, Pat Kay, Josiah Morra, Luke McCloskey, John Moonlight, Matt Mullins, Jake Thiel, Liam Underwood
Samoa squad: Jacob Ale, Malu Falaniko, Silao Nonu, Alamanda Motuga, Murphy Penitito, Patrick Fa’apale, Tomasi Alosio, David Junior Tavita, Samoa Toloa, Joe Perez, Matthew Tuatagaloa, Darren Kellet Moore
Ireland squad: Will Connor, Jordan Conroy, Shane Daly, Billy Dardis, Ian Fritzpatrick, Terry Kennedy, Harry McNulty, Bryan Mollen, John O’Donnell, Greg O’Shea, Mark Roche, Tim Schmidt

Pool B – Fiji, Australia, Japan, China

The Australians will be chasing their third tournament win. They won in Munich and at home, at the Central Coast Sevens last weekend. Ironically, they defeated the Fiji Baabaas in the final on both occasion. Again, they face off in this pool.

Ed Jenkins returns to lead his side, along with Lewis Holland. Both Fiji and Australia are preparing for the Oceania Sevens next weekend in Suva.

The Aussies have depth, including their newest rising star Maurice Longbottom. Tim Anstee together with Lachie Anderson and Ben O’Donnell have been a revelation. Sam Meyers adds experience and power, with John Porch and the nippy Tom Lucas try scoring weapons.

Fiji will bank on the experience of Olympian Jasa Veremalua to spearhead their campaign. Amenoni Nasilasila together with Emosi Mulevoro  and Leo Naikasau add depth.

A Japanese side; toughened with Fijian-born players, will be hard to beat. Lote Tuqiri, Dai Ozawa together with Dallas Tatana and Kameli Soejima will be their inspiration in San Jose.

Pool B is where the ‘super powers’ will collide.

Fiji squad: Jasa Veremalua, Josua Kurinabuli, Leo Naikasau, Alofosio Rauto, Manu Ratuniyarawa, Anare Tevita, Amenoni Nasilasila, Emosi Mulevuro, Nacanieli Batina, Asesela Ratudamu, Netani Vakayalia
Aussie squad: Simon Kennewell, Boyd Killingworth, Tim Anstee, Lachie Anderson, Sam Meyers, Ed Jenkins, Maurice Longbottom, Tom Lucas, John Porch, Lewis Holland, Ben O’Donnell, Charlie Taylor
Japan Sakura squad: Dai Ozawa, Michael Shinomiya, Jose Seru, Kameli Soejima, Dallas Tatana, Yoshiaki Tsurugasaki, Tevita Tupou, Lote Tuqiri, Yoshihiro Noguchi, Tasei Hayashi, Osukalloyd Murata, Naoki Motumura

China squad

Pool C – New Zealand, USA, Chile, Tonga

The Kiwis have named two Fijians in their team. Luke Masirewa and Jesse Houston bring with them Sevens Series experience. Luteru Laulala, Mark Telea and Chase Tiatia will try to bring their Mitre 10 Cup form with them. A young side, full of promise and unpredictability.

United States have a young, enthusiastic and vibrant side. Ben Pikelman will lead the side, with senior players in Martin Iosefo, Matai Leuta together with Folau Niua, Stephen Tomasin and Maka Unufe.

Like the Irish, the Condores of Chile ‘lit it up’ at the Oktoberfest Sevens in Munich. They will be competitive; small in stature, but big in heart.

The Kiwis Development side and United States will breeze through Pool C.

NZ Development squad: Jesse Houston, Jordan Hyland, Levi Harmon, Luke Masirewa, Mark Telea, Salesi Rayasi, Te Rangatari Waitokia, TJ Vaega, Whiria Meltzer, Terrence Hepetema, Luteru Laulala, Chase Titia
USA Eagles squad: Malon Al-Jiboori, Ben Pinkelman (c), Joe Shroedder, Matai Leuta, Ryan Matyas, Anthony Welmers, Folau Niua, Maka Unufe, Stephen Tomasin, Chris Mattina, Kevon Williams, Martin Iosefo, Madson Hughes
Chile Condores squad: Felipe Brangier, Ignacio Silva, Francisco Urroz, Nicolas Garafulic, Pedro Vershae, Francisco Metuaze, Benjamin Devidts, Martin Verschae, Rodrigo Fernadez, Lucas Westcott, Julio Blanc, MarceloTorrealbo

Tonga squad

Silicon Valley Sevens – Players to watch

Every team has its unsung heroes, just as they have ‘super heroes’. However, to be consistent every time you take the field is hard work. If you are a sevens fan, these names might not be new to you–but they are worth the watch this weekend.

  • We will start with Sean Daly of Ireland, he has a good step on him with good awareness of the game.
  • Chase Tiatia on the back of the successful Bay Of Plenty campaign in the Miter 10 Cup, is a tall, elusive runner. He will thrive, along with Jesse Houston for the Kiwis.
  • Marcello Torrealbo from Chile–with his lightning speed, is worth watching–and Maurice Longbottom of Australia has the skills to go far in the game of 7s.
  • However, keep an eye on names like Ben O’Donnell for the Aussies, Marlon Al Jiboori of the United States: both bring real fire power.
  • Our final player is Nacanieli Batina of Fiji. The LWOR forecast is ‘watch him go’ this weekend.

Can the Aussies Go Three-in-a-row?

The Fijians pride will be wounded, and they will be out for them. They might be a bunch of new boys, but not new to the game. Pool games will be incredible, and the draw might also see these two end up in a ‘Cup Clash’.

Canada can turn it up, and plenty of traveling fans should help with that. They may keep the title in North America, but don’t count out the Kiwis and or your hosts, Team USA.

However, the dark horse of this tourney is Japan.

It should be fast, it should be furious, and the Super Powers will collide, at this weekends Silicon Valley Sevens.

 

*The Tongan and Chinese squad lists wasn’t available to us when we published.

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